Byron Schlomach

Agencies exaggerating budget fears

Posted on October 23, 2009 | Type: Op-Ed | Author: Byron Schlomach
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In its Sunday editorial on agencies' responses to the governor's request for proposals to cut budgets by 15 percent ("We can't cut our way out of this budget mess"), The Republic notes, "The Department of Corrections proposes changing state law so felons can be released earlier."

The implication is that dangerous criminals will be roaming the streets. Left unsaid is that a "felon" could be a check kiter or somebody who missed child-support payments. Cads, yes; menaces to society, no.

While the editorial mentions the "Washington Monument" strategy (the practice of causing the most pain possible to undermine support for budget reductions), it fails to admonish AHCCCS for refusing to play hardball with the feds.

While other states are challenging "maintenance of effort" requirements, AHCCCS is pretending like it has no choice and has suggested it will end KidsCare altogether.

The results of Gov. Brewer's faux budget-cutting exercise were predictable. Agencies are painting the darkest possible picture. Our professional politicians, the bureaucrats, are running rings around the amateur elected ones - and the Republic's Editorial Board is letting them.

A 15 percent across-the-board budget reduction would put state spending slightly above 2006 levels. That's hardly a catastrophe in a time like this.

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